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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Announces Streamlined High Grass and Weeds Procedures

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Change to City Code will reduce costs and expedite maintenance of problem properties

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 12-06-2016

Akron, Ohio, December 5, 2016 – Today Mayor Horrigan introduced legislation to City Council that would expedite and simplify the City’s high grass and weeds procedures—making the process more effective and reducing the time that neighborhoods have to wait for chronically neglected properties to be trimmed.

The legislation, which would amend Section 94.29 of the City’s Codified Ordinances regarding “Noxious Weeds,” was developed through a LEAN Ohio Kaizen event this Fall aimed at improving processes to make government services simpler, faster, less costly and more efficient.

Under current procedures, the Department of Neighborhood Assistance must inspect and serve notice to thousands of unkempt property at the beginning of each Spring before the properties can be cut for the growing season—draining significant staff time and resources. Property owners are given 5 days to comply with the orders before the City can send the order to a contractor, who will then cut the grass in 9 -14 days, depending on the weather.

The new procedure would allow the Director of Neighborhood Assistance to inspect and serve notice only one time to each unkempt property and add the property to a Master Mowing List—giving the City the authority to maintain those properties, year after year, as needed, without the formality and cost of serving repeated notices.

“City personnel responsible for addressing nuisance properties are overwhelmed with work at the beginning of each grass-growing season,” Mayor Horrigan said. “This year the City cut the grass on 4,569 properties and approximately 90% of those properties were also cut the previous year, demonstrating that the majority of nuisance properties are the responsibility of chronically negligent property owners. This new process should reduce, by up to 90%, the number of properties we need to inspect and serve with notice at the beginning of each season, freeing up our resources and staff to get grass cut much earlier. I am proud to bring forward this proposal to improve the appearance of our neighborhoods while reducing unnecessary inconvenience to residents and costs to taxpayers.”

Under the proposed legislation, property owners have the right to appeal their property being included on the Master Mowing List, and the property can be removed from the list if it has been properly maintained by the owner for four consecutive months of a growing season.

“This idea originated with the City employees who spend their days combating high grass and weeds in our neighborhoods,” Mayor Horrigan said. “I applaud ‘Team Nuisance’ for their creativity and ingenuity in recommending this improved process. Look for similar, innovative and neighborhood-focused proposals like this to come in the future.”

City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance as soon as next week.

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street, Suite 200
Akron, Ohio 44308
Phone: (330) 375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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